18 September, 2023
Ambitious feral cat plan welcomed
THE Invasive Species Council and the Biodiversity Council welcomed the release by the federal government of a draft Threat Abatement Plan for Feral Cats for public consultation.
The announcement comes just days after the UN’s Invasive Alien Species Report highlighted the critical need for governments around the world to take the threat of invasive species seriously and invest the resources required to prevent the next wave of extinctions.
Professor Sarah Legge, who contributed to the draft plan, and is a member of the Biodiversity Council said, this is an important and ambitious plan to take serious action on one of the greatest threats to Australia’s native wildlife.
“The environmental toll from feral and roaming pet cats cannot be understated. They are responsible for the deaths of an estimated 2 billion native mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs every year and have driven over 25 native species to extinction.
“Without serious action to control feral cats in Australia we could lose iconic native wildlife like Bilbies, Numbats, and Night Parrots. Forever.”
Advocacy Manager for the Invasive Species Council, Jack Gough, said by this time tomorrow, an estimated 8 million animals will have been killed by the millions of feral and roaming pet cats in Australia.
“We need our governments to step up with funding, focus and reform that matches the seriousness of this threat to our wildlife,” he said.
“We are pleased to see such a comprehensive threat abatement plan released for consultation. Importantly it highlights the opportunities around island eradications, supporting indigenous rangers and the need for state and territory legislation and policies to enable effective cat control and responsible pet ownership.
“But this can’t be a plan that just collects dust on a shelf, it needs real money to shape action on the ground. Success depends on the Albanese Government stepping up to commit the $60 million in funding the plan says is needed over the next four years.
“At a minimum, all state and territory governments should declare feral cats to be pests, support all appropriate control tools and develop their own feral cat plans.
“In Victoria for example, the ban on the use of baiting to control feral cats is putting wildlife at risk and undermining the plan to eradicate cats on French Island, to protect endangered bandicoots and shore birds.”